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Old 09-13-2017, 06:52 AM   #1
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Default What are good brake upgrades?

I am looking to make my 05 Civic stop better for a reasonable price. I recently haven't been impressed with the way it is stopping or the pedal feel, Not sure if it isn't stopping as well as it should, or if it is just me. I purchased and installed Hawk HPS front brake pads, which did help a little, but I am still not impressed. I then ordered Powerstop drilled and slotted front rotors and Russel steel braided brake lines because I got a crazy good deal on them but they haven't arrived yet, so I don't know how much that will help. My question is what else can I upgrade? Would swapping the rear drum brakes to disc brakes improve the brakes a lot? Probably a dumb question, but I am not a brake upgrade expert, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

The steel brake lines will help a lot with the pedal feel assuming you bleed them properly of any air.

Discs will always be better than drums, but unless you're going to be tracking your car it wouldn't be worth the cost or hassle of converting.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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The steel brake lines will help a lot with the pedal feel assuming you bleed them properly of any air.

Discs will always be better than drums, but unless you're going to be tracking your car it wouldn't be worth the cost or hassle of converting.
Thank you very much. But how do I know if I get all the air out of the system? I've bled brakes before, but won't ANY air in the brake lines at all make the pedal feel way mushy? Can you have air in the brakes and not know it? Sorry for the dumb question.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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Thank you very much. But how do I know if I get all the air out of the system? I've bled brakes before, but won't ANY air in the brake lines at all make the pedal feel way mushy? Can you have air in the brakes and not know it? Sorry for the dumb question.
You'll be able to visually see the air when you're bleeding the lines. There will either be small bubbles or the fluid will lightly "shoot" out instead of just being a consistent pour or drip.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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You'll be able to visually see the air when you're bleeding the lines. There will either be small bubbles or the fluid will lightly "shoot" out instead of just being a consistent pour or drip.
Thanks. I understand that. What I am really asking is if I could have air in the brakes and not realize it. Wouldn't even the tiniest possible bubble make the pedal feel very soft?
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

A tiny bubble may make the brakes feel soft, yes.

You shohld also try adjusting your drums, and greasing your caliper pins and pad tips with silicone paste.

HPS pads are....ok. Nothing to write home about.

I would opt for blank rotors rather than drilled.

Avoid pumping the brake pedal to the floor when bleeding. This can damage the master cylinder.

Use a 1 man bleeder instead of the infuriating 2 person method.

Bleed the brakes with the car turned on.

Bed in the brake pads (this is massively important for brake feel).
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

Unless you disconnected a brake line or if there is a leak somewhere you shouldn't have any air pockets in the system. Like Chance EG said, the new lines will help with the pedal feel, make sure you bleed them really well when changing the lines.
Personally I've always switched drums to disc for the fact that I hate changing shoes vs pads... it's so much easier.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:26 AM   #8
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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A tiny bubble may make the brakes feel soft, yes.

You shohld also try adjusting your drums, and greasing your caliper pins and pad tips with silicone paste.

HPS pads are....ok. Nothing to write home about.

I would opt for blank rotors rather than drilled.

Avoid pumping the brake pedal to the floor when bleeding. This can damage the master cylinder.

Use a 1 man bleeder instead of the infuriating 2 person method.

Bleed the brakes with the car turned on.

Bed in the brake pads (this is massively important for brake feel).
Good tips, thank you. I already greased the caliper pins and pad tips with silicone paste. I did not adjust the drum brakes though. What is wrong with drilled and slotted rotors? I do not have a 1 man bleeder, so I have to use the 2 person method. Also, why would pushing the brake pedal to the floor while bleeding damage the master cylinder? What does "bedding in" the brake pads mean and how do I do it?
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

What exactly is wrong with the brake feel?

Pedal travel?
No pad bite?
Other?
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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Unless you disconnected a brake line or if there is a leak somewhere you shouldn't have any air pockets in the system. Like Chance EG said, the new lines will help with the pedal feel, make sure you bleed them really well when changing the lines.
Personally I've always switched drums to disc for the fact that I hate changing shoes vs pads... it's so much easier.
No, I am talking about bleeding the system after I install the new lines. I agree though. Air can not get into a sealed system.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:33 AM   #11
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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What exactly is wrong with the brake feel?

Pedal travel?
No pad bite?
Other?
Well, the pedal feels decent with the engine off, but with the engine on, the pedal feels quite soft and it has a lot of travel. I am not sure how much, but I can measure it if you would like.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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Good tips, thank you. I already greased the caliper pins and pad tips with silicone paste. I did not adjust the drum brakes though. What is wrong with drilled and slotted rotors? I do not have a 1 man bleeder, so I have to use the 2 person method. Also, why would pushing the brake pedal to the floor while bleeding damage the master cylinder? What does "bedding in" the brake pads mean and how do I do it?

A 1 man bleeder is a bottle, partially filled with brake fluid.....with a vacuum hose that fits tightly around the caliper bleeder nipple...and is submerged in the fluid in the bottle.

Thusly:


Nothing exotic.

And pushing the pedal all the way to the floor can damage a master cylinder's piston seal, as there may be rough parts of the cylinder bore all the way at the bottom of the stroke. Its not designed to be fully stroked out...especially multiple times.

Bedding in pads is mating them to a rotor. Preferably a NEW rotor. This is done by making multiple hard stops until the pad transfers an even layer of material on the rotor. Its probably on or in the box of pads you bought. Always check the instructions.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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Originally Posted by Vtec04 View Post
Well, the pedal feels decent with the engine off, but with the engine on, the pedal feels quite soft and it has a lot of travel. I am not sure how much, but I can measure it if you would like.

Try adjusting the drums.

You used silicone paste for the pad tips and slides? Anti sieze is bad news...and normal "bearing grease" doesn't work well.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:56 AM   #14
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

proper maintenance and the car will brake fine.

2005 is 12 years old.

dont just focus on the front brakes. rear drums are often the source of extra pedal stroke. they require adjustment, resurfacing the liner, etc. you know maintenance... and the slave cylinders often leak.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:00 AM   #15
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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Try adjusting the drums.

You used silicone paste for the pad tips and slides? Anti sieze is bad news...and normal "bearing grease" doesn't work well.
I used the grease that came with the pads.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:05 AM   #16
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

You should see good results in pedal stroke by adjusting/cleaning/greasing the rear brakes.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

on my 01 em2, i purchased the left and right rear knee's off an acura el 1.7 at the local pick and pull for $45 a side, bolt on disc setup & installed steel braided lines. make sure you get the hand brake cables and flex lines from the el 1.7 as they are different(rsx or ep3 will work too, you just have to change the rear bearing & rotor to retain 4 bolt) but the caliper brackets from the el 1.7 to rsx are different(caliper is identical).

later I completely re-plumbed the system and removed the disc/drum proportional valve in placement of an adjustable valve,

you might just want to grab the valve from the el 1.7 and call it a day,

the difference was night and day even before i reworked the lines and added the adjustable valve
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:42 PM   #18
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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Well, the pedal feels decent with the engine off, but with the engine on, the pedal feels quite soft and it has a lot of travel. I am not sure how much, but I can measure it if you would like.
check and adjust master cylinder pushrod clearance.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:45 PM   #19
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

If it's possible, look into early EP3 rotors and calipers, they're still 4x100.
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:18 AM   #20
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If it's possible, look into early EP3 rotors and calipers, they're still 4x100.
They would still need the knuckle, flex lines and e brake cables. Ep3 is more rare than an el 1.7 or rsx donor at a wreckers
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Old 09-15-2017, 05:48 PM   #21
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

UPDATE: I installed my new drilled and slotted rotors, which helped braking a little. I just got done installing and bleeding my new steel braided brake lines, and the car stops much better now. The pedal feels way more firm and much more responsive with about 1/2 inch less pedal travel. The factory lines were in bad condition, so replacing with new rubber lines may have had the same effect. My next question is if Valvoline DOT 3/4 brake fluid is good. That is what I used because it's what I had. What does DOT 4 mean? The owners manual says to only use DOT 3 fluid, but is 4 better? Thanks a lot!
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:46 PM   #22
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

I hope you didn't use a previously opened bottle fluid.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:08 PM   #23
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

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I hope you didn't use a previously opened bottle fluid.
Nope, I have a case of it that I got a good deal on. None of the bottles were opened until earlier today.
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Old 09-16-2017, 05:46 AM   #24
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Default Re: What are good brake upgrades?

Valvoline synthetic DOT3/4 is fine to use.
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Old 09-16-2017, 07:05 AM   #25
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Valvoline synthetic DOT3/4 is fine to use.
Thank you, I just wanted to be sure.
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